Page last updated at 13:10 GMT, Monday, 31 March 2008 14:10 UK

Match victim 'was in wrong place'

Bar where attack took place
A crowd of about 40 men tried to enter a city centre bar

A man beaten and stabbed by a gang in Belfast was "just in the wrong place at the wrong time," his father-in-law has said.

The 32-year-old suffered serious head and neck injuries after he was attacked by a crowd at the junction of King Street and Castle Street on Saturday.

It is claimed the trouble was started by some Linfield supporters after the Irish Cup semi-final with Cliftonville.

Reports suggest some attackers wore neo-Nazi gear and had English accents.

The victim's father-in-law said his injuries were horrific.

"He was on a life-support machine and for a time, we didn't know if he was going to live or die," he said.

'Throat cut'

"His throat has been cut, his face has been badly beaten, he has head injuries with stitches on his nose and is very badly bruised.

Attack scene
The 32-year-old victim was stabbed in the throat
"He wasn't breathing when he arrived at hospital, and is very heavily sedated."

A crowd of about 40 men made their way through the city centre on Saturday afternoon.

After shouting abuse and creating a disturbance in Castle Street, they tried to force their way into a pub but were prevented from entering.

They then went down King Street, where they attacked the victim.

Police are examining CCTV footage in an attempt to identify those responsible.

Linfield bosses have said it has not been confirmed that club supporters were involved in the attack.

It has been condemned by IFA President Raymond Kennedy, who said there was no place in football for such behaviour.

PSNI Superintendent Mark Purdon said a dedicated team of detectives led by a detective chief inspector had already been put in place.

"There are a vast amount of witnesses and witness statements currently being progressed, CCTV footage is in the process of being collated and will be examined as a priority."

He added: "There have been no arrests to date, however inquiries are continuing."

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